I Am Depressed Over My Kids Growing Up.

I am depressed over my kids growing up. My son starts college at UNC in 4 weeks and I can not stop crying. I cry when I think about it. My kids have been my whole life. I have loved them and done for them and I feel as though I don't really have a life of my own. I have a 13 yo daughter and I miss the little kids stage. Last night we watched movies from when they were little. It made me so happy to see that again but so sad to know its gone and I will never get it back. Christmas was the best when they were little. The excitement and happiness.  I grieve for what my life is not. It has not turned out the way I wanted at all and it makes me sad. I want what I had with my kids when all they wanted was mommy. I am still close to my kids and I am grateful for that. My son and daughter still like to include me in doing things with them and I know I am very lucky to have that. We all just went to see Harry Potter together at Midnight. We always do things like that. I know I still have my daughter but it seems like time every time I say something to her I am getting on her nerves. Girls are so different from boys. Girls are more smart  mouth, and they act like they know it all. I know were close but it is just different from my son.  I am so sad and even she is depressed about my son leaving. Any suggestions plelase??

I survived my son leaving.
Well it is hard to believe that my son left to go to college in 2011. Then, I thought I would die. I am happy to say that he will be graduating next May, and I am a better person for it. When he left I thought my life was over. I cried all the time. He has proved he still needs me by calling and asking for my advice. We text all the time ( I thought he would never call or text or need me). I go and stay with him and we have a great time. I am proud to see what a responsible young man he is turning into. I look at him and see a caring, responsible adult. He is now talking about grad school. Not sure I will survive that since they are all far away lol but I know I can do it. I have already done it. I have my daughter and we are still close. I have a great man in my life and I have ventured into new hobbies. I have started to take back my life a little at a time and I am loving it. Who knew? So for everyone out there depressed over their kids leaving, you can do it to. You can take your life back too and still be their mom or dad. If i can do it so can you!!!! Keep the faith and hope. Hugs to all you going through it.
girlygirl036 girlygirl036
41-45, F
77 Responses Jul 21, 2011

I desperately needed to read this today. Have been crying for nearly two hours, JUST because my 6 year old daughter doesn't want me taking her to the door at school anymore. I'm to leave her at the gate and let her go in alone. OMG that hurt. She needs me less and less now, I'm almost redundant. I can't have any more children. Maybe this is the reason for my lunacy. I know this is old, hope things are still going well. X

I love my children so much, and sometimes I feel bad that they will have to face death like everyone else. Does anyone ever feel guilty that by having children they have forced their children into facing death one day? I don't want to loose them but by having them I have to leave them eventually (hoping that I die before they do). But just the thought that even after I die, knowing that will still have to face death at some point worries me. I appreciate every minute I spend with them and i hope life doesn't pass by too quickly. I'm 31, but it seems that the last 20+ just whizzed by. Even though time seems slower in the current moment, the thoughts of the past feel so short.

I'm going through the same thing with my except he is almost 17 years old July 26th he didn't leave for college he left because they wanted to be with his girlfriend it's been since the beginning of this Month Jun first since he left he came home June 12 for a few hours I beg to me this day he acted like he didn't even know me he refused to talk to me and his brother and when I went to sleep here in a while he ran away in the middle of the night he took his dog and you ran away to his girlfriend Ibelieve I do miss him dearly my kids are my life I had my first son when I was 15 and a half I brought him to drivers ed with me so I grew up with my kids they are all I know they were my teenage years they were on my adult years and now my oldest is 18 my middle son is going to be 17 but the 17 almost 17 year old is gone I think he's gone forever he was such a mama's boy and I thought he would be the last one to leave I think I'm going to get on some anti depressants I'm in so much pain it's like he can't even enjoy the time that I have with the kids that are with me because of the one thing that is gone. I think i need help. I have an 18 year old son almost 17 year old son I took in my niece's son because she is a mess and heroin junkie and he is 17 I have a 12 year old daughter 5 year old son and a two year old son and I do not enjoy anything because all I could do is think about the one that is not here anymore I'm so depressed I think I need professional help into major antidepressants possibly some anxiety medication I don't know how to do this its all so new to me. . .

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My mom is getting depressed because i'm growing up what do I do to make her happy.

I desparately miss my boys being small. They are 9 and 13 now, and have lost all innocence about the world. They are pretty self-sufficient, and honestly don't need me much other than for problems. I don't know how to like any of the things that they do, and they are often much smarter than me about things. They can talk rings around me. I am intimidated by them often. I feel like I have no place in our home, and no purpose in life.

I know it is hard. Please know that they need you. I to miss the kids when they were small and every thing was new and exciting. The holidays were wonderful and enchanting. Then they mature and realize there is no Santa, Easter bunny etc and the holidays become boring and not as exciting any more. However, there are things you can find in common with them. Movies, have them "teach" you about the computer, phones and any new tech things. Keep asking them to do things. Most of all have a loving relationship it will teach them how to love and how to treat women. Love them and let them know they are loved. They will appreciate it and they WILL always need you. Take it one day at a time. I'm praying for you. Hugs

Hi tabitha1968, my name is Christopher in the UK.
"THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR POST", I thought I was the only one that felt as you.
My three kids are 20, 19 and 15, and I feel I'm only a person they have to talk to now, instead of the man that they ran to when upset, expected me to know all the answers, and as bizarre as it may sound, feed them when hungry.
My oldest daughter saw me watching videos of 5 and 6 year olds the other day and said I was odd for doing so.
That hurt me so much, I just wanted to see kids that thought there mam and dad were everything, and to remember the times when I was that person.


Remember that even though you brought these kids to this world, it would've been unhealthy for them to stay dependent on you for all their life. They are building their own lives like when you started your own. Be happy for them that it goes that way and not the other.

As for your own wellbeing, you've done this poor decision most women do early in their lives: sacrificing their whole life for their kids, realizing when it's almost too late they haven't left anything for themselves for when their kids are not much around anymore. So, what I suggest you is simply what your kids are doing right now: start building your own life!

Thank you... that is exactly what I did. I am in a much better place now, remember this story is 3 years old lol, so I updated my story but did not make it the main story. I ditched the hubby, so not right for me, found new hobbies, found a new guy, who makes me a better person, and found that no matter what my kids will always need me. But to be fair, its what women do. We have kids and raise them and they make us a better person for it. Loving my life :-)

I know that as an adult even after all these years I look back at my childhood years with fond memories of my relationship with my parents and my brother and sister and extended family. Even more so at Christmas. I am sure that soon you will have grandchildren to dote on and you will be even more closer to your kids

I can relate, I'm recovering at this moment from a crying session. I'm happily married and my kids are currently 3 1/2 and 6 months. Ever since the 2nd baby was born, the bedtime routine for my 'big girl' became my steady job. We have such precious time together in the evenings. As she falls asleep in her covertible crib (4th side off now) I sit on the floor with my arm in with her, she snuggles my arm along with her blankie and a teddy bear. At first I was impatient and pulled away my arm, but now I don't want her to let go... I cry thinking of the day she won't want to snuggle my arm at bedtime, won't want to kiss be between each and every vertical bar on the crib. I totally lose control crying when I consider the option that she may marry someone and move out of state. My entire family has always lived local, I have a normal healthy relationship with my parents and see them once or twice a week for dinner or when they watch the kids... I want that with my kids someday... I freak out thinking she may move far away. My wife can't relate and just stares at her phone texting and half-heartedly tells me "its ok calm down" when I pour my heart out to her about this. I am a good parent and I discipline when needed and say 'no' and teach her wisdom... but when its playtime, I'm on the floor fully involved and will be as long as she wants to... I really don't know what to do with myself when she has sleepovers at her grandparents.

Dear Evets123456,
You are doing the right thing by spending time with your babies. It is good for a man to be a loving role model. You have a long time with your kids, please don't be sad for things that are so far in the future. Enjoy every moment you have with them. Teach them respect, love and encourage them to do their dreams. When they are teens and adults they will appreciate everything you did for them. Unfortunately when the teen years hit they will want a little more space. As much as it hurts give it to them. But never stop asking them to do things with you. Even if they say no, they appreciate it. The best thing is take it one day at a time. When the kids are at the grandparents that should be date night with the wife. No cell phones just you and her time. Plan a romantic dinner. enjoy each other. In time you will see your kids grow and be loving, they learn by seeing. They will reflect what you taught them. Try to not worry and love each day you have with them. Show them what it is like to be a loving couple and let them learn what to expect from a good relationship. Sad thing is most females don't have a father like you and they don't know what a loving relationship is and except what ever. You are showing her what to expect from a loving man and loving relationship teach her to never settle. You are a great father continue doing what you are and please slow down take it one day at a time. You are doing great.

Girlygirl036, thank you for your encouragement and support. It was hard for me to open up all that on here, if you saw me I'm your typical football and sports-car loving manly man type, but my little girls sure did manage to find that soft spot. My dad is a good man but had a job that required excessive overtime so I didn't have a good example of hands-on daily loving fatherhood, but I'm enjoying learning along the way as my little beauties are growing. Thanks again, have a good day.

You are welcome!! Even though you say you didn't have a good example of an everyday father, I to didn't have the best example, I think maybe we are doing with out children what we wanted as a child. Hey all I can say is it works. We do for them what we wanted as a child and I can honestly say it has worked with my kids. So chin up Evets your doing wonder :) and PS your girls should always find the soft spot

should say with our children ; ) some times I type faster then I should.

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I just found this via Google and I am experiencing something very similar, except with my baby brother. I am 20 years old and my (half) brother is 6. He's my only sibling. It seems like just last month that he was a little baby and now he's just lost his first tooth. I cried for an hour last night thinking about the fact that he will be ten in another four years. <br />
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Right now, we are really close and he wants me to play with him every day. He really looks up to me and copies what I do, just like my little cousin used to (who is now all grown up, sadly). We play games together and we have a lot of similar interests and a similar sense of humor. I really enjoy every moment I spend with him, but I can't stop worrying about him getting older, going through puberty, and wanting independence. Right now, he tells all his friends at school about me and even begs me to work at the school so he can see me there every day! When he's older, it won't be 'cool' to hang out with his sister anymore... what if his school friends become his priority? I'll probably have moved out of home and I won't see him every day anymore... I feel like crying thinking about this.<br />
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I suffer from really bad anxiety and I'm constantly thinking and worrying about myself and my family members getting older every night. I stay up all night putting off trying to get to sleep because I know I'll just lay there and worry. I worry about my parents getting old. I worry about myself getting old. I even worry constantly about my boyfriend dying suddenly! Thinking about my brother is the worst of all, though, because he is my absolute best friend and my rock. I love children and their innocence - they are nonjudgmental and unassuming. They love everybody regardless of how they look and act, and they always know how to have fun. I can barely come to terms with the fact that I'm growing up!!! I still feel like a little kid, totally dependent on my family. I cried on my 20th birthday. I cried on my 17th, 18th and 19th birthdays too. I hate being around people my age because they just talk about parties, drinking and drugs. I can't stand the thought of my brother growing up and getting into the party scene... getting drunk, using drugs, getting with girls... it makes me sick to my stomach, and I don't know how to deal with all these feelings. It's driving me insane.

I am sorry you are going through this. I know it is very hard. It does seem you have very bad anxiety. Have you tried any medication's for it? Or talked to a counselor? I know it is hard to watch the young grow up. We have to let them grow. We have to let them make mistakes and know that we are there to help if he needs it. He will always need you even if he acts like he don't. The best thing you can do is love him. Have fun with him. Play with him and make sure he knows you are always there for him. Make all the memories you can. Because as much as we hate it, they do grow up and start to want to "hang" with their friends. Please take it one day at a time. Just breath. It will all be all right. And even if they pull away for a little bit, they usually find their way back to you. You will find they want your advice and will always need you. :)

Thanks so much for your reply. I have had problems with anxiety for the past five years but didn't realise it until recently. I used to think it was normal to stay up all night worrying and not being able to sleep. I'm glad I know better now. I've tried to push myself to go to see a counselor or a psychologist but I get anxiety about that as well. I've made three appointments so far but have pulled out of all of them at the last minute because the anxiety was too much. I really have to try and pull through it, because I know I need help to stop all the worrying. Thank you very much for your advice, I will take it on board. I really hope he and I will be the kind of siblings who stay close for life.

My daughter has anxiety and I finally got her to a counselor. She is doing so much better.. so there is help :) just keep trying.

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I am retired and will be 65 in two months. I have three grown sons who all have children and live close by. I don't see them as much as I want because they all have careers and families. Suddenly, tonight, I started tearing up, thinking about how I just need to give them all hugs. I really am miserable. I don't know how to cope with this. I just had to write this to maybe come to grips with reality: they are adults now with their own wives and children. I just need to cry I guess. Men don't cry, right? Wrong. I do. I hope this passes soon.

Yes real men do cry!! And surprise, it's ok! :) I understand and I know its hard. But guess what? You stated that they all live close by. That is awesome. You have grand kids. Oh there is so much you can do. I am jealous. You have grand kids I have to say it again. You can go take them and do with them like you did with your kids. You have a second chance to have "small Kids" and actually enjoy them. Visit them, take them to the zoo, babysit, go to the movies out to eat. Your kids will so appreciate it and your grand kids will benefit from it also. And everyone needs a good cry. I know I do. I would love to hear from you. Let us know what you are doing and how you are coping. We all need this, that is why we are on here.

Hello,<br />
I know how you feel. I am a single parent and raised 3 boys. My oldest is 21 and lives out of town, my middle son, age 18 stays at his dads for the most part due to his job and he leaves for College this fall. My youngest will soon be 17 and he says he is moving out next year. I miss all my boys at home like crazy. We never get to do anything together anymore with me and all my boys together due to them saying "they have better things to do". My life has been my boys and its just killing me the thought of my last son leaving home. I know I am selfish but I want my boys back!...I love my boys alot. It bothers me too, but I know I need to let them go. I know how a mother feels by not wanting the kids to leave and it hurts but its life I guess. I will always be their mom and they will always be my babies.

<p>Wow, doesnt this thing creep up unexpectedly. Typical working dad doing shiftwork, lots of Saturdays and studying for 3 years with my 2 boys and wife (started working 3 days). boys are now 5 (just started school & 3 pre school. I found it hard to connect until about 2yrs old but we get along great. I am sentimental but usually pretty good when dealing with these things. I Did the usual shops, games at home, dvds and day out things with the family but missed alot with work and study. The eldest starting school was the trigger that im missing out on connecting & experiencing these years. Everyone told me it would go quick but each day seemed quite long. Guess what? those days added up. Having this feeling of losing something (my baby boys) I decided to investigate how to fix this.<br />
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Finding this site was very helpful. After reading here and other sites i just decided to have a chat to a very good boss that I have. Saturdays are gone, doing one shiftwork per week the rest is daywork, and negotiated days off when necessary. If they couldnt do this I was out. Not sure what I was going to do but thats where im at. Holidays are being booked and am spending more time really experiencing what a family is supposed to be including the arguments which still sometimes occur. We are going to experience more places together and make one on one time with both boys as this is when we really connect. Financially we'll be ok but throwing away the early retirement but 'ya Gotta' do what you gotta' do. Thankfully its not too late to enjoy this time as long as it starts now. I do also realise that that no matter how much time we spend together the slow handing over of the kids into the world will still be difficult but the smile will be bigger as well and hopefully we can get on with our time knowing that we really took advantange of the time together and did our best.<br />
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Wow how lucky your boy's really are. Cheers to you that you actually decided to do something before it was to late. Spending time with them is worth more then anything, and you will be the better for it. You are right, even spending time with them will not make it any easier to hand them over to life as they grow up. But you will have awesome memories to always put a smile on your face. take lots of pictures because you blink and they are gone.

Thanks for those nice replies. Nearly a year ago now and its that time of the year again in Aus when the kids go back to school which made me think of this. There was alot of growing going on but much more enjoyment was had thanks to the stories and ideas I found on here. The job front is a little slow but super glad I cut back the hours now. Reckon I'll look back on that with a little smile. The youngest goes to school Feb next year so the sentimental gene will be on notice. good luck to all

I need this post more than ever i have not slept more than 3 hours a night for 3 months now as i feel im moarning my son we are so close and he is 13 year 9 and i know soon he will pull away ,every happy memory i have is him and i cant breath at the thought of waking up with him not here. my husband and i are not really close and i practically did everything alone and was not aloud another child as husband doesn't want. i feel i sat on my feelings so long and wrapped myself up in my son that now i cant function .

I know your pain and am sorry for it. Like you I was not close with my husband either. We are now divorced. I did everything with my kids by myself. They were my best friends because I put them first. I wish I would have left him ALONG time ago. We are better for it now. I have found someone else and we are perfect for each other and it helps a lot. I am not saying this for you but what helped me. Your son's will always need you. Mine always sends me texts and calls and I go and stay at his apt at college. He tells me often that he could not do it with out me. and any time he needs advice he calls. Yours will to. enjoy them.

I am so close to my granddaughter but she is 13 now and growing away from me. I am so sad and cry a lot. I still see her but would love the relationship we had when she was younger. I lost both my mother and sister this year and am feeling very sad and lonely.

I know you are hurting. Sometimes we have to let them go and grow up. I feel for your loss and I urge you to find hobbies, a good girlfriend you can hang out with or try to get your granddaughter to come stay with you a night or two a month. I wish you well and know we are here for you!

Thank you for replying. I appreciate your comments.

Well, when it comes to kids growing up and the way you feel about it, we all know that is empty nest syndrome and it happens with many parents, what I can say is make the best with your kids, even when they grow up, they'll still need you in case they end up in a little fix, you can still see them when ever you get the chance. I'll admit that every parent doesn't want their kids to grow up but every parent knows that one day they have to. Maybe you can still talk to them and visit them when ever you want to, keeping in touch with your kids is something you should do. I would suggest maybe you could have another kid but I don't know if that's a good idea but hopefully, you'll still keep in touch with them.

Thanks your thoughts and Words have really helped me!

I hope this reply finds you well. Thank you for taking the time to reply. One day at a time was the only way I made it and John my fiance. Please if you still need to vent/talk email me at girlygirl036@aol.com
thats what we are here for to help each other.

<p>Wow. Its hard to believe I wrote this story two years ago. I also never imagined I would have over 7000 people view it. I am very touched to know that there are so many people that felt the same. I just wanted to update on how I am doing now. My son will be starting his Junior year at UNC (I still cant believe that) then starting grad school (only heaven knows where). I do not cry any more thank goodness but only because I have learned that even though my son is gone he still needs his mother. I thank the lord we have such a close relationship. He calls, text, and skypes as much as he can. I just got back from a three day stay at his apt with him. He even text yells at me if he hasn't heard from me in 3 days. I still have my daughter who will be a sophmore in highschool and I know that will be depression all over again when she is a senior. I now am engaged to a wonderful man and this has TRULY been the best thing for me. Before, I hate to admit, but I made my kids my life and they are. But now I have a bestfriend, and I focus some of my attention on him and not all my attention on my kids. I still miss the little kids and am happy to know they are growing up into responsible adults. They are truly my pride and joy. I know I have done the best I could and they show me by wanting to spend time with me and wanting to talk to me all the time. I am blessed and very thankful. I love them. So I know the feelings you are having because I lived them. I want you to know there is hope for all of you. Try to talk to them as much as they will let you. Try to make a day just for you and them. They may act like its the worst thing possible but my daughter told me she use to enjoy it even though she acted like she didnt. Also take it one day at a time. I know its hard but when you are feeling really down give them a call or text them. You will find that this makes you feel better. Good luck and God Bless. From girlygirl036 a mom that is truly blessed.</p>

awesome..you just gave me the hope I needed. So happy to hear your story. Thank you!!!

My son is a junior, my daughter a freshman and I am feeling all of this big time. Mostly from my son, who IS Jeremy from the comic ***** ZITS! ;) What I have found helps me most, and I'm kind of a 'problem solver' so I won't go into all of the emotions I have had cuz they are exactly what ya'all have been saying! Instead I'll tell you what I'm finding helps. 1. Remember being a kid yourself. you loved your folks but you didn't spend time sitting around, hanging around, doing things with them, and you couldn't wait to go off and be on your own, right?" So, remember that, first off. LET GO, but be there. They still need us, they just don't want to, thats normal and healthy. Secondly, I have found it helpful that my husband and I have gotten involved in some projects that we do together..we bought my old childhood home in Montana, and travel there to work on it and get away just the two of us..something the kids aren't really much of a part of now..it's OUR thing! They have their things, we have ours! 3. HUMOR...use humor instead of guilt, they respond to that! Example, I said to my son..."When we went to prom, we did..." he said "Mom, that was in 'your day'...we don't do it that way anymore". WHile he may be right, it hurt me that he wasn't even willing to entertain the thought that I could have SOME wisdome he didn't have...I wanted to launch into him, but instead said "Yeah, I know, before there was electricity and we had to go to prom in a horse drawn carriage...yeah, you are right, it's totally different now.." and smiled, and left it alone! 4. Let them make lots of small mistakes...they would rather make their own choice and be dead-*** wrong, than have you take over and make it for them, and be right! EVen if you think that you are saving them, you aren't. They WILL resent you, even if you are 'right'....Let them mess up and don't say anything about it!

I'm learning all of these things by trial and error, mostly error...I wish I had do overs in some ways, but I don't, so I'm going from here and doing the best I can. I watch old movies WITH my kids and say :"SEE why I loved you so much! See why this is hard for me!! and smile with them! I want them to see how much they loved me and how much fun we had and how much I taught them and caught them and held them...NOT so they feel indebted to me, but so they understand me better...and what I have experienced. They don't recall this stuff...and even if they did, our kids did not have even remotely the same experiences with US as we had with them!! Know what I mean? While we were adoring and laughing and loving and holding, THEY were striving and getting frustrated and trying to be independent and not even thinking about how much they loved us etc...they have to be focused ON THEMSELVES, and always have been...we just didn't realize it when they were physically and emotionally dependent on us!

When and if my kids have their own kids, and then as those kids grow UP, they will finally maybe say "Wow, mom knew her stuff...she did a good job, she wasn't perfect but she sure loved us and did her best.." that is all I want, really and I dont want them to say it UNTIL they know it deep inside themselves. That will be a long way a way, so I'm going to try not to 'live for that' moment to come...or i'll waste a lot of my life! ;)

KEEP busy moms and dads, you all have so much to offer still...maybe now more than EVER..be a role model for your grown kids and show them how to do it! Save the earth, volunteer if you miss children, get a major cool hobby that they can be proud of you for if that means a lot to you (it does to me, I want my kids to think I'm special, yeah, I do I admit it) But stop living FOR them, and live WITH them, alongside, separate and FIGHT the tempation to follow them around, 'text stalking them' and facebook bombing them. It's so hard, but we have to let them have privacy in order to grow up.

Whew, that was cathartic, thanks to those of you I didn't lose in the first paragraph!

Take care empty nesters!! We are all in this together and we'll be OK~!

OH one more thing...I remember my dad saying to me before he got heart surgery, I was 27, "Honey, I want to tell you right now, that you shouldn't have children... because you NEVER EVER stop worrying about them, or missing them. But then I think the only real joy in my life has been you kids...so, I guess I want you to have them and know that." He was very emotional that day, I understand that now. So many years later. (I'm 50, he is 87).

Enjoy the day. Embrace your tears. Its all good!

I know this is likely an old post. I am a husbhand as well as a Father of two wonderful children ages 10 and 11. One boy one girl. I have been both a best friend and dedicated parent since they where born (as has my wife).

Lately though, I feel their worlds becoming more and more self-centric. They need me less and less. Choose their hanging out with their friends, etc.,. etc.,. I admit I cried about this. It is a natural part of their growing up and has to happen but my soul aches.

Reading your post (and others here) has let me know that I am not crazy, alone with these feelings, or a wimp - LOL. I wanted to reply to you because your advice seems good and I especially like the your take on "letting them make lots of small mistakes". This is an area I struggle with, but have improved in recent months and I hope will help keep them at least comfortablly communicating with me....I have no false hopes about them telling me all their thoughts, but maybe a line of talk will remain open if I learn to back off gracefully during these approaching teen years.

Thanks to all of you who have posted!!

You are amazing! I am 51 with a 20 and 18 year old son and 17 year old daughter and neede to read your advice today especially that I am missing our summers in the past. They were good but it's time to make some new and different summer memories!

Ok not sure what happened, I was in the midst of a response and it disappeared lol!

I haven't been to this site in a long time. I think the first time might have been before my son turned 18. He is now 25.

I had thought that I felt so sad because of the downright doozy mistakes they are making. I just hope we all survive it as they figure it out.

Anyway, I *thought* I was sad because of some of those doozies. But since Spring has come, with all of the sights and smells, memory after memory has begun to wash over me. There has been no escape. I smell the river and the air after it rains, and instantly I'm taken back to another time, when they were all little and yes, loving and needing mom. Its only been over the past week that I realized that the bulk of my sadness is because they are growing up and away from me. I started to think about how I would feel if my youngest (who just turned 19 today...bringing with it more memories) was leaving for college. I would be just as heartbroken. I walked into my daughter's room this evening after she left. The room is still the same color I so lovingly painted it a few years ago. I don't even remember exactly how old she was when I painted it. She was at least 10 years old, but might have been a bit older. Isn't it amazing at HOW MUCH change there is from the age of 10 to the age of 20. It happens so darn fast. It's hard not to feel that we lost them when they turned 12. And with each successive child it seems like the age is younger that they grow up.

I realized that what I'm feeling is grief and not just over my kids growing up, but also because I'm getting older, my husband is getting older our friends are getting older and some have died or are very sick. These were people we shared our lives with. It is interesting because I didn't realize it....but I remember feeling like "when the kids grow up, then my husband and I can go back and pick up where we left off". Nope. Those years are gone now. I think that is a large part off what causes the "midlife crisis". Our river home has been destroyed. Some of our friends don't even come up to the mountains anymore. My dog died 2 years ago and she was there when my son was only 10. Once again I am reminded me how much children change from age 10 to age 20.

I have 20 rolls of film I never got developed for whatever reason. I want to get them developed, partly because what the above poster said is true. They are not having the same experiences with us that we are having with them. My kids don't really remember what we did as a family AND WE HOME SCHOOLED THEM! I did not shelter my kids but "family" was a big deal. We went to museums, the beach, the mountains, hikes, camping, and stayed at our place along the river on weekends. (sigh, those were some great memories). We traveled to New Mexico and Arizona, and saw the Grand Canyon. The kids were on the swim team for several years and the girls did scouts and cheerleading. Life was strung together from one memory maker to another. And still my kids don't remember what we did together, nor do they associate those memories with any particular feelings the way I do.

Like many others, I too feel like my life is over in the most important ways. Every step I take, every room I enter, every smell from spring....it all brings back one memory after another and I cry all the time. My happiest memories are with my young children and my husband, as a family. That was all i ever wanted....a close family. And it has been hard now with them each going their own separate ways. I have been hanging on, maybe wishing for the past by seeing it play out with all of us as grown ups. But the poster above is correct when he/she says that when WE were their age, we were anxious to be independent, on our own, without surveillance. I distinctly remember that. I will give my youngest credit when this past winter she came over to help me bake cookies and she called it "making memories". What a great way to look at our time together even now. She always was an "old soul" like her mom :).

Like one of the above posters, my advice to others who are grieving this loss is also to remember how we felt at that age.....how it might have taken years before we finally settled into our lives and once again included our parents. And then we as parents need to resolve our feelings by allowing ourselves to make NEW memories to add to the old ones.

Something else that is key here. When my kids were growing up, I never pressured them to decide what direction their lives would take. Their ages range from 19 to 25 now, and as I said, they are making some doozy mistakes, some of which scare the living daylights out of me. I realized that although I never shared my hopes and dreams for them (didn't even know they were there), I had expectations of them that are currently not being fulfilled and that also cause me feelings of loss. The thing is, they are all adults now. Young adults, but still adults. It is not for me to tell them how to live their lives anymore. The fact is, I would be a lot happier if I just accepted things the way they are instead of holding onto the disappointment that they didn't do things the way I apparently thought they should. I'm sure I don't need to tell them my opinion of their choices. I believe they already know, but being young, they still think they are invincible and that their choices don't really matter in the long run. I'm sure those few times when they imagine their futures, they see themselves as the kind of adults their parents were (and still are). Not carbon copies, but new and improved models as they decide which things to take with them into the future and which things to leave behind.

I also need to come to terms with the fact that I've probably got another 35 or 40 years to live. I do NOT want to spend 40 years of my life sad and grieving. I needed to open my mind to all of the possibilities, including the possibility that I could be happy again. For brief moments I have been able to imagine myself happy again. I'm not sure what I will be doing during leisure time but I did go back to school to get my masters in nursing. And I can imagine a few things I know I would enjoy doing.

You all are in my thoughts as I take one step at a time.

Sorry my post appears as one LOOONNNGGGG paragraph. I had broken it up but the format didn't stay the same when I posted!

1 More Response

I hear you. My kids are grown and because I gave myself so totally to raising them and being there for them, now I have nothing, not even them as they marched off to fulfil their destinies and live their lives. I know I can only blame myself, but it still hurts and I am having a rough time trying to make a life for myself. It seems to have all happened at the same time and so fast--also my husband died in the same time frame, so it feels like I lost a lot.
I dont know what I expected. My own mother was lost after we grewup and the 20 year old me just couldnt understand why she was so upset and not glad to get us out from under her feet! But within a few years she drank herself to death, so I do feel a lot guilt from that too. Knowing what I do now, I think I would have opted out of having kids. I could have done more with my life and not just ended up old used up and redundant.

oh my goodness - the sobbing has been insane. the feeling of my breath being sucked from me - crazy - and the sadness of recalling all the pitter patter - absolutely agonizing. empty rooms - soooo painful! like all the life in the home has been sucked out and it does feel like life is over - or should be over as now it is just torment
struggling to make the mental adjustments and align myself so that i can be my best in this next phase of my life
lucky for me my grandbabies are close by and while I am anxious at times for less noise - as soon as they leave I want them back - need to hold them, love them - i call these withdrawals

It's difficult to let go; I speak from experience. I felt like I was going to die when my 23 year old son moved out of town, and my college senior daughter announced she would be moving upon finding employment. What will I do with myself if I'm not fussing over them (my favorite thing to do)? But then my doctor said, you did a great job raising independent children, do some things for yourself now. Even though my children have been my world, I'm going to try to have some me time for a bit. Good luck and God bless. It will be ok.

I feel your pain. My three kids were spaced out over 13 years. When the first went to college, I still had a five year old at home, so that helped. Now the last one is a sophomore in college and I still cannot believe that we have an empty house. My son and I were very close and we like our daughter-in-law, but it's not the same - I'm not his main "counselor" anymore. We have two beautiful young grandchildren - and that helps a lot to ease the pain of having your children move on from you. My oldest daughter moved away to a big city - but is barely 100 miles away and it's truly fun to go and visit her and do adult things like shop and out to dinner and share a glass of wine. Still, I miss my babies and am grateful that my husband and I were blessed to have them.

i was exactly the same when my children grew up and flew the nest. i now dote on my little grandchildren, and they are just like my own, but you never get over that feeling that you arent needed in the same way as a mother. its horrible, and no one knows unless theyve been there. a loving understanding partner helps.

Oh you are so right. Grandchildren are great (we now have 3), but it is not the same as when your own children were little.

I know exactly how all of you feel. My son moved to Manhattan 5 years ago and it felt as if my heart was being ripped from my chest. I sat in his room for days and cried. 3 months ago my daughter moved 3 hours away to be with her boyfriend. I miss her so much cause she was and is my best friend. I come home from work to an empty house, try to stay busy until bedtime, cause thats the worst time, as I lay in bed, cry, and remember good times when my kids were home and I was "needed." Im alone now and it is a horrible, empty feeling that just won't go away. I love and miss my kids terribly :(

I understand completely I feel the same way although my boys are 14 and 15 I miss them needed me like they did when they were younger I felt happier I am with you and think bits normal we have been there everything an have basically given our every second to our children we never imagined the day that they would actually be grown and gone but I have heard that they will be back to us sooner than you think then we will have grands. The future is just as important as the past we are still mothers and they love us but yes I am depressed too my 15 year old seems not really unhappy, or distant but not as close to me as I would like I think he's just growing up and needs his space he has a girlfriend and confides in her a lot I think he is a straight a student and fights golden gloves boxing he is 12 and 1 so he is a great kid just always seem to feel as if I get on his nerves and can't make him proud of me no matter what I do......I miss him and he is right here does that make sense? Lol

I know this hasn't been posted on in a while, but I wanted to say something anyway. I'm 14, the youngest person in my high school, nevertheless freshman class. I spend alot of time with my friends, and even more with my family. My mom is always upset about me getting older and having so much to do with my friends, because she remembers when she would go to my school and bring food for everyone to eat and we all had a good time. But, since then, she's had a few strokes, and I really don't want her to go to my school anymore, since sometimes I want to be with friends. I always invite my friends over, since they all would rather come over to my house than vice-versa, because they like my family. But I spend way more time with my mom, and although I sometimes mouth off or hide in my room, we spends alot of time together. So, I'm trying to work a balance of spending time with friends, my dad (Who's divorced), and my emotional mom, plus my grandparents, who we live with. Even though I'm only a freshman, I can't help but wish school would go by slower, so I could spend even more time with mom, dad, and my pals. Do I have a good balance?

Love ur mother and make her feel special no matter what and u will see she won't be so emotional and she will support u spending more time with ur friends just us moms want to feel loves by our children even after you grow up we are still growing too

Dear Randomkid1234,
You have a great balance. That is a great quality especially for a young woman. Your mother is lucky to have such a responsible girl that knows and trys to understand how she feels. Good luck and God bless.

My four children are grown well adjusted adults. My oldest son has three children and my youngest daughter just had her first child. Still to this day, I miss my little children. I'm their Mother but not needed like when they were my babies. I love being a Mom. I miss rocking them on my lap. I miss so many parts of raising them and everyday I wake up with this sad missing in my chest. My house has their echo and so does my heart
The relationship changes as it has to and I have to let them go on to live their lives.
Nothing in this life will ever be as marvelous as being blessed with four incredible children and having the honor to raise them to adulthood. I miss them right now.

exactly how i feel. i have 4 grown up children. and 3 grandchildren. Yes, the special feeling when they cuddle up on your lap is the best feeling in the world.Bless them.

I just found this site after looking online for help in understanding what i am feeling right now. This past weekend my daughter got married, it was a beautiful wedding , she was a glowing bride, we were surrounded by friends and family. It took months to plan. Now its over, everyone has left. Then 3 days ago my son and his wife had our first grandchild. She is healthy, beautiful and amazing. I am blessed with all of this. However, I am in a deep depression. I feel that I am now used up. Useless and with no purpose left. I have suffered from depression for many years, but it was under control. Now, this change and the sudden ending of my mothering years has caused me to sink back inl. I have not job as I got fired in November. All the wedding planning is over, my son has his family. I don't know what my day to day purpose is left in my life. I am so lonely. My husband doesnt understand these feelings.

I understand how you are feeling as I am also grieving the loss of my 4 children who are all now grown with families of their own. I have been questioning where I am suppose to go next. I feel like my life is over at times. Then the grandbabies come over and fill up on hugs and kisses. I am lucky to have a wonderful hubbie but he has trouble understanding me too. I am trying to let go of my kids and let them be the adults that I've raised them to be but I get angry some times. Yeja, I wanted to reply to you also because I too have suffered depression throughout my life off and on. I have recognized that my "empty nest" syndrome is not going away by itself...it comes and goes but my youngest has been gone over a year and I should be on with my life by now. I have decide to get some counseling and I am so glad to have made that decision. My psychologist is an understanding female who is at about the same place in life that I am...her son is in college and she is home with her husband. She provides me with some wonderful insight and suggestions to move past this grieving stage that I am stuck in. You may want to consider seeing someone too. It doesn't have to be a psychologist, there are so many resources out there. Don't let your depression pull you back down into a black hole. We have worked all of our adult lives to raise our children and we owe it to ourselves to now find the enjoyment in life that we so deserve. Hang in there.

They need you more then you know. Just wait til the grand babies come and they will be asking you for help.
Please know that all of us have a purpose and we just need to keep looking for it. Just take it one day at a time.
God Bless

1 More Response

Im a father and have a 16 year old son and a 14 year old daughter , im about to loose them in a custody battle. I will always love my babies their mother just stepped into their lives i feel your pain as parents we try our best and all we can do is remind them that we will always be there when they need us.

The best advice ever. Your children will reach out to you and love you.

Reading all the responses are making me feel like I'm not alone...I'm scared to have this conversaton with someone else but I'm starting to feel a lot of anxiety over my kids growing up. My son is a senior and my daughter is a sophomore. I feel like a part of me is gone now that they are growing up. They both play sports and work weekends part time. I feel great as a single mom for what I have molded them to be as an adult. Its just becoming to be a big fear for me. I thought I would be okay with them growing up but now that reality is settling in I'm not doing well. I hope this gets better with time.

I googled this because I needed to know that I'm not crazy and am not alone. I have a daughter that is a senior in highschool and she is applying for colleges. My son just turned 14 2 days ago. My kids are really great, responsible, well mannered, well adjusted kids. . Don't get me wrong we don't always get along and I have moments when they drive me CRAZY. But I have been a big blubbering, crying hot mess! I feel so sad that they're growing up. I cry everyday. My husband thinks I'm losing my mind. I am proud of them, I'm happy for them but I still miss them being little. I was a young mom. But I worked so hard to be a good mom. I never expected to feel anything like this. I know that my goal as a parent is for them to be independent, educated, responsible citizens. But there is a part of me that wishes they could stay like 7 and 3 years old :'(

Well put I feel the exact same as you do no you are not alone!

As I read this I cry. I lost my Brother Mom and Dad all in two years when my kids were 1 and 3.
I have put my whole life into the kids at that point. My Daughter is a Junior and Son a Freshman in High School and it all happened so quickly. Each day I remember something we used to do that now means nothing and simply off of the Radar altogether. Christmas was a Huge Deal with Santa and Lights on the House etc....now it seems they could care less. Drill Team took over my Daughter and I never get to talk or visit as she is always on the go. My Wife has an in daycare with 4 toddlers which play with the same toys I bought the kids. I hear the same Barney music everyday, yet my kids are in High school...
My Son is into friends and sports so the Daddy thing is gone. I feel like the Breath has been knocked out of me 90% of my time. Medication is worthless and makes it worse. I am truely Blessed I know, yet I can't stop the tears. Yesterday I bought lunch for two and was headed to School to eat with my Son.....I was half way there when I remembered he's in High School now. I am loosing it BIG TIME....I cried for three hours in the parking lot of his old school...!
God has a plan I know, but MAN is this a tough one...!!!
Hang in there guys....I think we can make it.
Sad Dad


I'm a freshman at a university that's in another State and I miss my parents alo; especially my mom. I see pictures of us when we were little and I too am sad over the fact that my life will never be the same; no more running into my parents room, watching movies with my sister after school or handing out candy with my mom on Halloween. Belive it or not your kids feel the exact same way you do. I fought with my mom so much when I was 13-15 yrs old and now she's my best friend. Your post helped me see that I have to embrace new traditions and have happy memories of the old ones.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I miss my 2 boys who are in freshman in college. Your post helped ease the pain. Thank you again :)

Just wanted to update you all who took the time to read my story. I am doing very well. I survived the first year and he is now on his second. Skyping and texting and visiting has helped. He still stays close with me and I have learned that will never change. I send packages to him and its fun to hear his stories. I have met so many of his friends and they have even friend requested me on FB. I have met someone and we plan on getting married next year. I still have my daughter who is a big help. I know we can make it. It was a one day at a time to get through it. Friends and my daughter were a huge help. This site was a God Send. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It helps to just get it out. Let us continue to help each other. Let us vent and lean on each other and give support and compassion always.. email me at girlygirl036@aol.com I will always lend support to anyone who wants or needs it. God Bless

I am a 16 year old boy. I'm in 11th grade and I was just watching home videos from when I was little with my parents. I miss those times so much and believe me, your kids also do. I wish I could be 2 again, so innocent and excited at the smallest things. all I did all day was do things with my mom and now I am struggling to find things to do with her. Sometimes she gets on my nerves with homework and stuff and I'll back talk her and I'll feel so bad. I always let her know I love her though. I find myself feeling guilty when hanging out with my friends all the time because I just want to be with my parents. the more you think about it, all you want to do is spend time with your family, everything else just seems unimportant. Well, I'm leaving you with this advice: your kids will always love you and from what it's sounds like, your a great mom. They want nothing more than to spend time with you. Your kids are going to college and starting their lives just like you had to once do. The times when they were little was just a stage. Your kids are in a new stage now. Instead of thinking about the "little stage," cherish this time in their lives. When your older and your children are adults, you will be missing this stage in their lives. live, laugh, and love

Dear justlivingmylife11,
Thank you so much for saying I am a good mother. It was much appreciated. You sound live a very wise and mature 16 year old. You are right about nothing else is important then spending time with family. You say you want to spend time with your mom but not sure what you can do. My so and I went to amusement parks,barnes and nobles, went to movies. You mom wont care what you do as long as its time spent with you. Do not beat yourself up about smart mouthing. We know you love us. Thank you again girlygirl

My daughter has just left home and I can't stop crying I feel so lonely I can't bare to go into her empty bedroom I feel like my life has finished! I am happy and proud of her but I miss her so much I don't know what I'm going to do! I want to stop crying but I can't I feel so messed up at the moment I am her father by the way can anybody help me! I feel like someone has ripped my heart out

Dear trueblue3,
I am so sorry for you. I know it is not easy. I know it seems like this is something that mostly only women go through but its not. I am so glad to see that a man can admit it. I know it will be hard for a while. I cried every day for at least six months. You dont say if you are married. If you are this is the time for you and your wife to become closer. Get together with your daughter like I did my son. We set up a skype account and he taught me how to use it. We text and skype and call all the time. It helps me to think that he is just on a trip and I can get in contact with him anytime I want. It has been hard but now its not as bad as it was. This year taking him back to school was not as hard. I only cried when I left this time. lol last time I cried the whole time. Setting up skype and texting really will help you feel like you have not lost them. Please feel free to write on here anytime. I will respond and if it helps you in any way then I am happy for you. Remember you have not lost her as they grow older they realize how important you are to her.

I feel the same way too :( I even bought a book about going through empty nest but its not helping. But somehow now I feel a little better that I share the same feeling with you guys. Thank you for sharing and I pray that you and all the parents going through this difficult stage of parenting , will find peace and strength through love... Love for our children!

My son will be 13 in February and I have been raising him entirely alone as a single Mom since he was 2. I can see he is growing up so fast and I am getting very depressed because in 5 years he will be going to college or something else. Although I have a career I have devoted myself to him and don't really have a personal life anymore. I also had him when I was 43 so I am now older than other Moms with kids my age so I feel out of place. I am getting so anxious and upset anticipating when he moves out in just a few years. Reading other posts has helped me.

Dear Dawn8,
I understand exactly how you feel. I felt the same way. I devoted my life to my kids. I was married and not happy and no longer with him. I know it was very hard the first six months. Like I said, it became easier. I learned how to skype and texted him and called him all the time. He sent me a text yester day "thanks for calling me in like never" lol if we go 2 days its to long for him. If you are truly close to your son he will continue to be close to you no matter how far away you are. I met someone by accident and it has helped alot. I pray that you can find away to stay close and know that this chapeter is not over just a new chapter starting. Good luck and email anytime. I will always anwer.I know this helped me to talk to others. girlygirl

I think all loving parents go through this stage. God Bless you all. Imagine what your children would feel like if, on the other hand, you were the types of parents happy to see them go. With the pain, comes the comfort that your children know you hold them dear to your hearts. And that will last... Forever.

Thank you and God Bless you wantedtoshare

i just read everyone's responses and i am so glad its not just me that feels this way. I am 37 yrs old and have 3 children 2 boys and a girl. my daughter is a senior in high school this year she talks about what she wants to do when she graduates etc and i start crying. i cry looking at pictures of them when they were little i so miss it. i chose after my last child that we were done having children and had a tubiligation. some days i so wish i had not. How do i over come feeling sad i should be so happy at how wonderful my children turned out.

Its ok to feel like you are feeling. I know that as long as you love your kids and they know they are loved then they never really go away. They always come back. Know that you have your husband and other children. You will stay in touch and talk and make memories when you go and visit. I love going to my son's college and he enjoys when I come there. I get along with all his friends and talk to them on FB. in fact his friends send me request. I am so happy more then I ever thought possible before he left. I know its because I have met someone now and he helps. But its also because I now know my son is still as close to me and would never move away and "forget" me. If you want to chat I will always be there for you to vent and talk. girlygirl

From a Dad: I have a daughter who is a senior at college which is about 5 hours away,a son who is a sophmore at college about 2 hours a way and a 11 year old son. For me is started when my daugher started looking at schools her senior year at high school but thankfully she opted to start at the local community college. Then two years later it hit. Her and my son gone the same week. Hit me like a ton of bricks. Depressed and sick I thought I was going to lose it. As the year moved on and some nice anxiety meds from my doctor it got a litle better. But I could shed a tear with the best. Thinking it would pass I am going through it all over again as I write. I think it is worse. I feel I just lost 20 years of my life and two of the three things that I love the most. I have great kids, good kids, kids eveyone tells you how polite and respectful they are. I am very proud of them and happy they are successful and know they will be OK but I share the pain you all are having. Somethings I found helpful is just sending them a simple text to see if they are OK or what they are doing, share and talk about a common interest even if it is a TV show you both watch, what there new intrests are in school. Send them a simple package of snack or gift cards. Keep them posted of local news if they are away they alway seem to want to her that. Plan a simple visit for lunch or attend just to say hi. Being 5 hours away that is tough but it gives a bit of peace a mind and some well felt hugs. I am close with them and it hurts that they are leaving again. Talking with others helps to keep you mind clear. Like most said the past 21 year of my life have been them and now it changes. Thanks god I have and 11 year old to occupy some time. I hope I have grand kids before he does off to college.

You are so right. Visiting them and sending them packages are a great way. It is awesome you are so close to them. They are very lucky. You are right to say it helps talking to others cause it really does. This site has helped me. I never expected the response I got from just posting what my feeling were. I know my son loves the care packages. He is only 3.5 hours away and I love going there. Plan on going in two weeks and I just as excited as he is. Enjoy your youngest. Make great memories. I hope you have grand kids before he leaves to. good luck :)

I feel exactly like everyone on here and my only son has graduated college last year and moved 6 hours away. We were always soooo close and he was and is my life..... I have really tried hard to let him go and people say that I have done a good job at doing so....I have literally tried everything people say to do like.....I took all 3 Wilton cake decorating classes, took up sewing, exercising, eating right and even lost 20 pounds....and the list goes on.......my question is this.....why do I still feel like I have no purpose in life? I enjoy all these things, but its not the same as having a litttle boy around who needed me all the time. I just feel like that now I have no future....I used to always have something to look forward to as he was growing up and now it seems like all the "changes" you look forward to are just "over"....I really try hard but it just doesn't seem to help me....I miss him so much and it seems like he doesn't really miss us...( me and his Dad)....sure he calls every once in a while but I can tell that he is fine without us....I just don't see why I'm not feeling content because he has turned out to be everything I could possibly ask for.....this is what I wanted for him so why am I so lost?

Hi, iam new here and bybreading your post i can totally see me, i thiugth this was only me going through this, its kindof a relief actually to find moms like me. My story its a little bit different but in the end is the same, my son is only 4 and he has aspergers syndrome and the thing is that he is growing up soooo fast that i cant help to feel sad he is not my little baby anymore, that he doesnt need me . And i feel hopeless because he is mynly child and i gave up working to help him develope and to take care of him but now i dont know who i am anymore, just like you i tried baking, cooking, jewlery making , but i just doesnt seem enough. Its like , i want him to need me so i can feel whole and important

Dear pish51 and virginia14,
we feel this way because we gave up our lives and our identity to raise them. We feel a purpose as long as they needed us. Now we need to take care of ourselfs and keep in touch with them as much as possible. Know you gave them all the love they needed to make them turn out so well. They love you also and will always give back to you. Please turn to each other and to your spouses to help you get through this. I am always here :)

Accepting how sad at times I am, and how proud and grateful I am for our times together has helped me a lot. It is normal for me to miss my kids and loved ones, and at the same time to be so proud and grateful of having had these years and years to come. Write down things you are grateful for and envision a future of happiness and fulfillment for the kids and for you. WHen I was so sad at the beginning my friends kept telling me:"It only gets better" and it has been true for me.<br />
As far as having friends, when I finally understood that :"To have a friend be a friend" things changed completely for me. I had to get out and be a friend, be interested of what was going in in their lives, not just me all the time. <br />
Change is difficult and I have realized that the change when the kids started to leave and come back home, and started having their own lives ,brought another way of relating with each other, different but nonetheless exciting too! I love my adult kids today and am glad too that somehow I don't worry like I use to when they were teens. I am excited for their adventures..and my own too. Believe that things will get better! We have been and are wonderful moms! In the meantime put effort in figuring out what is the you can do to feel better and take good care of yourself. Your kids will love you for that too.

you are exactly right. I to find that as they get older we talk about different things and I look forward to hearing what he is doing and places he is going. I love that we can talk as adults and he can ask me advice. It is wonderful to have friends and for me I found a special person that I fell in love with by accident. He truly was a God send. He has changed my life for the best. I now am not as lonely and I have my daughter at home still. I know now I have survived it once I know I can make it through it a second time. God bless you all girlygirl

i am thankful that there are other people out there that feel like me. I have been crying from the day my mother died nearly three years ago and just as i was coming to terms my oldest daughter announced her engagement last year and now she is getting married in 2 weeks. My other daughter is going for her gap year in a months time. I have no friends just people i know and my husband. My husband does not understand anything and feels i am making too much of it.To top it all up, my daughter has decided to do everything on her own and has left me completely out of wedding preparations.I feel i have lost her to her in-laws because they have a big family and all their reatives in this country. I have no family in this country and no friends that i can turn to and I just feel like the way i am spinning around, i may never stop.

I feel very similair my oldest is starting high school this year and each time I look at the high school site I cry...Hes in football and honors courses and has friends..and I still have an 8 and 12 year old ..but this high school thing..its really throwing me for a loop..tough transition.

I am in the almost exact situation as you. My oldest son just started high school and my younger son just turned 12 recently. I have been a mess thinking about how fast time has flown by and how much I miss their childhood. It hits me the hardest when I'm lying in bed at night and going down memory lane. I find myself wishing I had more kids or just looking for ways to hold on to the years I have left with them. No one is ever prepared for this transition and I feel like it's very much a lonely, depressing state to be in even though I am surrounded by my husband, family and friends. It's really hard going through this but I take comfort in knowing that many parents have gone through it and survived. Most of the time, things get better because we get to look forward to our wonderful kids become wonderful adults. I am so very grateful for my sons and for all the wonderful memories that we have shared together. As Dr. Seuss said, “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” I am smiling through my tears. 

SR1969, my daughter starts high school next year and I have reached the point where I am overwhelmed by grief. I miss my little girl's innocence and her laughter. The way she could climb a tree at 3 years old and never got scared. She is growing up and I will never have that sweet little girl crawl into my lap just to be held by her mommy. I don't know how to get over that part of my life being over.
Gratefulmom, although I am heartbroken by this it is good to know I'm in great company! I'm not just being irrational or crazy. I'm glad this site exists. You guys are wonderful.

Wow. I am so surprised. After days turn into weeks, and weeks to months, you almost start befriending the emptiness, and you find yourself not caring about anything, and just sinking deeper into the quicksand. I googled 'what to do after your kids grow up" and this site came up. I didn't think others felt this and all I get when I try to talk to my family or friends is "It's your time now. Do what you want! " I don't even KNOW what I want. I've made decisions ba<x>sed on what was best for others for sooo long, and now I just feel useless and purposeless. I have done many wonderful things in my life.... before I forgot how to live. Now it is a struggle to get through a day, and much easier just to go back to bed. <br />
<br />
I know I shouldn't feel like this at 40. But I seem powerless to do anything about it. I hope reading here can help.

My son leaves for college in 2 week! I've been crying and depressed for the last few weeks really bad. I've been mad at my husband. My daughter starts high school and she has spent most of her summer every where but here! I thought I was having a nervous breakdown! I found this site with all these mothers expressing these thoughts...now I know I'm not alone. Now I know I'm grieving.

know exactly how you feel! Im hoping that time heals at least knowing that I'm not the only one helps a tiny bit but it's still very difficult!

I'm in the same boat as you my daughter has left for uni and I'm finding it very hard to cope! just wish I could stop crying at the moment !

Oh My Word!! I feel the same way!! I cried while reading this! My baby girl is leaving in 3 weeks & I can't quit crying for nothing!! Its crazy! I try not to in front of her cause she gets mad at me! I raised her on my own for 14 years & then her dad helped out with the raising! She makes me feel like I'm not supposed to be upset, but how do you hide that? I want her to go & succeed & do whatever in the world will make her happy! But, when you are so close to the only child you have..its just impossible to Not cry!! LOL

I have 3 children. And like the rest of you, I don't want them to grow up. My youngest daughter is 4 and starts school this year. I don't want to let her go. I've been here with her since she was born. My oldest turned 8 a few weeks ago and all I did was cry. I want them to always need me. They are becoming more and more independent and that saddens me because it means they are growing up. I don't want to let go of them. I'm only 29 and I'm having these issues already. I can only imagine when the start high school or college or marry someone and move. I am so proud of my kids and the people they are becoming but I was them to stay forever little. I get nauseous at the thought of their next birthdays.

To Carson2403
I'm an older mom 48, with a 9 y/o son. My only child. I cried when he was no longer in diapers. When he was 3, we would sit in my room, snuggle up and watch winny the pooh for hours. I would just stare at him drinking his bottle and twirling his hair and I would just start crying knowing that in the blink of an eye he will be 6 and we would no longer have these times together. I haven't stopped crying yet and emotionally am in so much pain. My husband is very understanding but it still does not get
rid of my anguish.

Here are some thoughts that I have learned in the past few months. I used to cry when my kids were little too....thinking about them growing up. When my oldest lost his first tooth, it really hit me.

I learned in some groups I belong to that what we are doing when we imagine the future a particular way, is "projecting". I know its seems impossible, I never lived my life this way until now, but you are much better off living in today than thinking about the future. I always used to plan my future and then work the plan. I was always imagining my future and only *partly* living in the present.

Then some things happened in my life that were completely out of my control, several very big crises happened all at once, and I could no longer hold all that inside my head and figure out what to do. So when people here say take it "one day at a time" it really is good advice. Take it 24 hours at a time. Think about what you can do TODAY to make the most of your life TODAY. And each little thing will add up over time giving you and your kids lots to look back on.

My son was just married, and moved 5 hours away, near her parents. I am so happy for him, and yet, so sad. We are very close. So I stumbled upon this site while looking for help. Your comments have made me feel like I'm not crazy. I know that "this too shall pass", but I see that for some of you, it has not. So I am taking it one day at a time, and I am prepared to find help if this worsens. I pray that all of you will do the same.<br />
<br />
As for "lonelygma", I think getting another pet might help with your loneliness. I'm so sorry for the loss of your cat.

This is my first time to read Experience Project and I have been able to empathize with many of you as I have read your posts. My 29 year old daughter, my 2.5 year old grandson and my son in law just left hours ago on a move to Texas. my daughter is a Texan so I knew it would be a matter of time before she wanted to go back. Her father lives in Austin with his wife. My son is in a nearby town in Tx as well. And their half brother as well. I have been very involved with my daughter and grandson almost on a daily basis since his birth; babysitting and having him spend the night with me. So my house as you can imagine is about Mason and his books, puzzles, videos, pillows and blankets. So I am surrounded by these memories of him. My craft room also became his play room and hang out.<br />
I am married to a very good man (not their father) for almost 15 years. He does not understand how I feel and I do have bitter feelings towards him for pushing my daughter away. They do not care for each other down deep, but are always very pleasant towards each other, even though I know how she really feels about him. She is looking forward to spending time with her father in Tx. I think my grandson will really enjoy spending time with him.<br />
I do work 3 days a week as an RN, so I do have a very demanding profession which I have been passionate about.<br />
The way I feel today.........nothing else matters any more. Not my husband, not my job, not my million hobbies and interests. Nothing can replace the almost daily hugs and kisses from my grandson. My daughter and I were best friends and spent so much time together doing things we both enjoyed.<br />
I guess I am feeling that I am now being left out of the family since everyone will be there except me. They will be enjoying the holidays, Masons events, school days and weekend get togethers. <br />
Does anyone know what is wrong with me? And how in the world do I survive after today. this also follows my cat dying on my birthday a week and a half ago. I had just told him days before he died that it was a good thing I had him since my daughter was leaving. His love and affection was so important in my life!

There is nothing wrong with you Lonelygma. Everything you are going through is absolutely normal. You are going through some major changes here, and of course they are very stressful for you. With the loss of your beloved pet on top of the moving of your family you are experiencing a lot of grief right now. I'm glad that you have your husband with you, I have three suggestions to offer you: 1-Get a new little pet to care for. A new pet won't replace the one that has passed, but will offer you another to care for and benefit from all of the unconditional love you have to offer. 2-You obviously use the computer so learn how to Skype with your daughter and grandchild. You may not be there, but it may be a great comfort for you to be able to see them and talk to them on a regular basis, and you won't be waiting for visits and pictures to experience their days and events with them. There are great tutorials on the internet about how to do live video chat. 3-One idea to think about: A person cannot have more than one focused thought at a time. Try concentrating on a very positive and happy event, your grandchild, or a desire, and focus on that for at least 3 minutes, absolutely and completely, and you will find that it is true. It doesn't matter what you think about, you could even could even concentrate on an inanimate object, it works. You'll find that you have more control over yourself than you can imagine. Be proactive. Take charge, I believe in you.

I thought it was hard as my 3 children grew up and went away to college. I managed to just say to myself I am so happy that they are happy and well adjusted. Then my daughter married and later began having her children. She has 3, ages 5, 3, and 1. Her in-laws live in the same town as my daughter and her husband and we live about an hour and one half away. However, it feels like 1000 miles. Every day I covet my daughter's in-laws life. My heart physically aches to be closer daily to those precious children who are growing so fast. We do manage to see them probably every 2 weeks, but it feels like a "hit and run" because we feel the need to pack as much in as possible in the short time we are with them. My daughter knows I hurt badly, I feel guilty that I ever even show that to her because she loves me and has not done anything she should feel guilt about, but it is so devastating to me that I do sometimes say or show my pain in some way. I have great friends, I have a great husband, I have 3 loving children and we are all healthy, yet I hurt so badly every day that I have to just try to put a wall up and not look at pictures of the grandchildren and try not to think about them because I will cry and be so depressed. Also, it is hard because my daughter has made it somewhat evident that they don't really want me to spend very much time there because we have to go to a lot of trouble to make a place for me to sleep. My husband offered to have a workshop they don't use, but is attached to the house, turned into a small guest room at our expense, they said they did not want to do that. I heard that loud and clear. Some girls are so attached to their mothers they could not imagine not living close to them, my daughter seems to have never really bonded with me, even though I really tried so hard throughout her life. Anyway, I am crying out to anyone who has figured out a way to help themselves refocus or truly heal whatever causes this and stop the hurting. I read and try to practice "radical acceptance", which is a tool of DBT therapy. It tries to help you live for today and say this pain will not last forever...but it feels like forever every day and the tears will not seem to stop. And I just have to suck it up over and over and over daily. If this was a choice, I would certainly not choose to be like this, it sounds so irrational and I suppose it is, but I just can not seem to get past this pain. Please don't think I am not grateful and I do understand all of the other things I could have wrong, but this is what it is without any of that other stuff applying and I still feel so much despair over not being in a daily life with my grandchildren. Anyone?

I am a father of a 2 1/2 yo daughter and a 5yo son. My son just graduated Pre K and my daughter had a stepping up ceremony at the same school. It has hit me like a ton of bricks how fast the past 5 years went. The teachers made a video for all parents of the kids and used Jack Johnsons version of We Are Gonna Be Friends and Billy Dean's Let Them Be Little and I can't get the songs out of my head. I feel like even though we spend as much time as possible with them, I feel like I missed a lot. I put my son to bed last night and told him don't grow up so fast. He told me " I'll stop for you" and now I cant stop coming to tears.

life is about "continual change", as difficult as change can be, we need to learn how to adapt to it. Good Luck with the future x

just be proud as parent! :)

Trust me, You could have a son who isn't going off to college. He could be at home with you, struggling with life and success and happiness. You could watch him in pain everyday and not know how to help him. He could keep all his problems to himself. And in reality, you would be farther from him than you could imagine. Embrace the man he is becoming, and find a hobby. Your Family dynamic is changing and if you don't let it, it could cause problems. He may feel out of place because what you want your little boy back and not the man he is trying to be.

Don't love your little boy more than the person he is today

I don't know that I so miss our family life "the way it used to be" as much as I am afraid of not being able to have physical contact with my children and their children now that they are grown - continuing to be part of each other's lives.<br />
<br />
I have been very fortunate to have two of my children as well as all my grandchildren live close by - however, my son has not lived near us for over 10 years (military). We have made every effort to see him as much as possible, but even then it's only 2 to 4 times a year. Recently my daughter and her family were notified they might move out of state due to her her husband's work schedule. I am devastated that I will not be able to be part of my grandchildrens' lives in the way we have up to now.<br />
<br />
My father was in the military - we moved far away from all family and relatives. I grew up with no relatives other than my Mom and Dad. I didn't move away from them and my brother by design. I wanted my children to know their Grandparents. However, my brother's career has taken him out of state and my parents are aging. I know it is only a matter of time before I lose them too. <br />
<br />
I have a successful career, a good marriage, friends I love, but as I look to the future, I feel a tremendous sense of loss, despair and longing.

I can completely relate to this post. I am desperately missing my life with my family when my children were younger. We did everything together and were very close. My children are now 18 and 20. They still live at home, attend a local college, and work part time. We are all still close, but nothing like before. They have their own lives now with friends and boyfriend/girlfriends - as it should be. The things we used to do together as a family, they now do with their friends. I work part time and am active in my church, my husband and I enjoy activities together, and I have friends. This does nothing to help the depression and desperation I am feeling. There are so many kind folks trying to give advice here, but I feel like a freak. I don't know anyone who is having such a hard time dealing with this as me. Today I drove for hours, visiting places where my kids played sports, places we camped, schools my kids attended, churches we went to, the park where my kids graduated from high school, where we took their prom pictures, etc. I feel like I am losing it. My husband doesn't understand how I feel, and he doesn't know some of the crazy things I do, or he would think I was crazy. It helps to know I am not alone.

Do not ever ba<x>se your life n any aspect of our kids life. Be independant and get your own life. You shoule have true friends by now. Socialize with them, with your husband, if you dont have a husband go out on a date- but for christ sakes leave your kids out of your inability to be happy without having your kids around and sucking thair blood.

Your ignorant comment shows what a dumb *** you are. Its not sucking their blood its called being close and friends with ur kids...something your obviously not.

Our children grow up and live their new lives. But that doesn't mean they don't need you like aways. Besides you daughter even with the smart mouth still needs your guidence. If all you can do is pray for them and do their laundry when they come to visit, do that. My children and some of my grandchildren have all growed up. One of my sons was murdered, I still grieve for him but I know where he is, in my heart aways, so I haven't lost him either. <br />
My suggestion is, yest think about the future and remember the past, but live now for all you can. If you feel you need that first few early years of childhood, I'm sure there is a single mother out there, maybe even a teenage mother, that could use a break and your experence. As you know they probably don't listen to their moms either. So give it a try and don't be so fast to give up on yourself or your children, they will always need you.

I know when I was 13 I was the same with my mum. Don't take it personally - it's just that age! I know when I moved out of home my relationship with my mum became so much better too. It was a different relationship though - more like were were equals - and I think we found we had a lot more in common than I'd ever thought. So don't get too down about it - perhaps just give her some space? But let her know she can come to you and talk if/when she wants. There's nothing worse than being 13 and trying to assert your independence and having a mother try to smother it!

I can relate. I am the father of twin ten year old boys and they are at that stage where they don't really believe in Santa Claus and as minute as that sounds, it's very depressing for me as I feel like I am losing my little boys. The innocence and wonderment that they always had seems to be slipping away. As much work as it was raising them, it was the greatest thing in my life. Now to see them "growing up", it's only a matter of time before they chose their friends over their mom and me. Never thought of this when I was growing up and my parents may have been going through this. Now that I am a dad, I can feel the heartbreak when a parent realizes they're not your "little ones" anymore.

Sadly I am going thru the exact same thing. My adult son just left to join the Air Force and I can't stop crying. It's like my home lost it's life. I too have a daughter too seems to always get irritated with me whenever I try to talk to her...difference is she is almost 23. She just moved to another state over this past weekend, so I am left here with no children. I feel so empty, as if my life has no meaning. They were everything to me. I spent all these years nurturing them and doing everything for them and now....nothing. I can't seem to let go. It's as if there was a death in the family. I simply just do not know what to do....my heart bleeds for you as I am feeling the same. I hear it's gets better with time and you will establish a different relationship with your adult kids. I want my old one...LOL

I miss my son so much. He lives 2 hours away, and he is getting married and moving next door to his fiance's parents, also about 2 hours away. They have a lot of $ so I am sure he will pull away from us more and more. He wants me to be happy for him - which I am, I think - but I am in so much pain, and I can't stop crying. I think how it would be if he were here, and lonely and miserable, spending all his time with his mom. I know so many people who couldn't wait for their kids to grow up and leave home, in fact, pushed them out, but I am not one of them. I miss him so much!!!!!

I am right there with you. I just got back from halping my daughter and her husband and our first 6 month old grandchild 8 hours away. <br />
<br />
I am so proud about them making it on there own, but so sad they are not close. I don't want to be a Halmark Granddad. I wanted to be there daily or at least weekly, for the scrapped knees and flying of the kites. My wife is as devestated. We are just enduring the pain and figuring out what we can do. We will be there as often as possible, and if we can relocate we will. <br />
<br />
Writing your feelings here is a good start. I can see many people are or have felt tyhose same pains. <br />
<br />
Best of luck to you.

My mum was like that too when I and my brother went abroad to uni. It must be really hard in the beginning and I believe my mum cried a lot but this is a stage of life and she got used to it now, just being busy with my dad and hang out with him a lot. I guess you have enjoyed your life so far, so more nice things are going to come. Dont think that it is all over.

when u first conside having kids u have 2 know that they'll grow up & leave,try getting a small cat or dog. xx

i feel ya sweetheart!!! I also have a 14 yr old and `12 yr old and i already "been there, done that" with their two older siblings who were THEIR age when they were born! (14 and 12) :)<br />
But that dont keep it from hurtin....<br />
<br />
Its more complicated when you have an ex to deal with that dont understand its heck to get both "sets of kids" together and he takes them on my time all the time. <br />
Its an aching heart feeling and I am right here with you<br />
<br />
Be glad to listen anytime hun

I have no good suggestions. I have a similar situation.<br />
I am not getting any better. I am just sinking into despair.<br />
I hope that doesn't happen to you.<br />
I have no one to talk to. I sometimes think that if I did,<br />
it would help a lot. so try talking to your friends or your<br />
sister, if you have one, AS MUCH as you can. or your<br />
husband, if he's the understanding type.<br />
but mine is like: " You're acting so psycho . . just snap out of it"<br />
<br />
I have no sister, and no friends, and live out in the country<br />
with hardly any neighbors either.

Hello girlygirl036,<br />
<br />
I can understand how you feel as I too have young ones leaving home. Some have gone to college and have come back but have no jobs so they will probably have to immigrate to a foreign country. One is getting married soon and moving out for good. On top of all of that, my parents who live next door are elderly and coming near the end of their lives.<br />
<br />
Such is life. Change is one thing that will come for sure and despite what we may think at the time, change is good and indeed vital. We can react to change in one of two ways: We can refuse to accept change and try to resist it but that will lead to an unhappy life. The alternative is to embrace change and to accept it as it is. This is one of the secrets to happiness and peace of mind.<br />
<br />
My advice to you is to live life in this day and make the most of it. Slow down and observe the beauty of God’s creation; have a good laugh every day and if you can’t find anything to laugh about, laugh at yourself; Be helpful to other people whenever possible and don’t expect them to thank you every time. Tomorrow never comes so don’t waste your energy worrying about it.<br />
<br />
If you are a spiritual person you may find comfort in the Serenity Prayer:<br />
<br />
Serenity Prayer<br />
<br />
"God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,<br />
the Courage to change the things I can,<br />
and the Wisdom to know the difference; <br />
<br />
Living one day at a time; <br />
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;<br />
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,<br />
not as I would have it: <br />
<br />
Trusting that you will make all things right<br />
if I surrender to your will;<br />
that I may be reasonably happy in this life<br />
and supremely happy with you forever in the next."<br />
<br />
Que sera sera. <br />
<br />
Que sera sera.

Thank you so much. Yes you are right and I am happy to say I survived. I have found someone special that I love and it has helped me immensly. I still have my daughter and me and my son are still really close. Skyping has helped its like he is in his room or something. I love hearing about his adventures and I have someone to spend time with. I have great friends and a special loved fiance. I have my daughter that I love and stay close with. Your advice was much appreciated. Thank you and God bless girlygirl

Glad to hear that it is all working out. If you believe in God then you are in life exactly where He has planned for you to be. Have faith and be brave enough to take a chance on love.

My own daughter has since gotten married and moved out; has now left her job and is off to travel the world very soon, so I will be doing a lot of Skyping too. My father has also passed away so I could be sad about a lot of things but I choose to be positive and to get the most out of life.

Remember that children grow up and it is natural for them to move on and live a life of their own. They will also make mistakes but that is how they will learn. This is Your time of life so enjoy it. God Bless.

You need to find out who YOU are. You don't mention a man, but there must have been one. Then there were the kids. Probably you have been a single mom for a while. For the last 20 or so years, you have lived for and through other people, and now with the prospect of being alone, you are terrified and don't feel like there will be anything to live for. You need to learn to live for YOU! This is YOUR time, coming up. You are completing one job, one phase of your life, but it is only one phase. Start preparing for the next phase. Look into who you are, what you like, what you want, and what you want to do. This is not the end of life, it is the beginning. It says above that you are age 41 to 45. Know what? I just retired, and am about to step out into a whole new phase of my life too. This isn't the second phase though, it is the third. At your age, I was just finishing up medical school and launching a second career as a physician. I married at 44. It was too late to have my own kids, unfortunately, but I raised my husband's three kids until they left the nest and scattered. Do I miss them? Yeah, of course. But even if something should happen to my husband and I were to be alone, I know I would survive, because I KNOW WHO I AM. If you have gotten to the age you are and still don't know who you are, then FIND OUT! Explore. Take courses. Work with a therapist. Join some groups. Find out what interests you. Find out what you are good at. Find outlets for your talents and experience. The path is there, just look for it.

I think one of the most sad things that happens to a parent, is when their child "grows up" --- and goes away to college --- or finds his"sweetheat" and gets married.<br />
Were I a parent, it would be my wish that my son or daughter would continue to "stay at home". Life is unfair --- and this is reality Your "kids" have to find their own place and calling in life. Remember, that even though they've "gone away to college" --- or married their "sweetheart" --- does NOT mean that they love you less. It's just that the love for (his or her) spouse does not mean that "they" no longer love you --- it's a differerent kind of love. As far as leaving to go away to college? Take heart. He or she will always love you ---- and may well depend upon you for the support and love that you gave them when they grew up under your care. It happens to all of us. You're not alone. God bless you and I wish the best for you.<br />
Regards: Jim

I can't speak for others but I'd lay bets we feel much the same way: This is not about feeling like our kids do not love us (though admittedly sometimes I'm sure we all wonder!). This is about figuring out what to do with all the love we still have for them.

All the many happy and wonderful memories we have were fueled by the overwhelming love we had for our kids at that time. Now they are grown and we don't really know what to do with all the love that we still have to give.

It's really sad that the bygone days will never come back even if you wish it a million .. just think about your future .. grandson .. it'll bring cheer n happiness just like your son :-)

It's really sad that the bygone days will never come back even if you wish it a million .. just think about your future .. grandson .. it'll bring cheer n happiness just like your son :-)

Just think how much fun grandchildren will be!

It appears that you have succeeded in the most challenging career of all - to train another human being. My two kids are almost where your son now is. I understand your feelings. Even when they leave the house for one night, I can hardly bear to walk past the open doors of their rooms. My plan is to stay invested in their lives for as long as they will put up with my silly antics.

Thank you so much. I am so very proud of him...he wants to be a cardiothroacic surgeon and I have no doubt he will make it. He was first in his class in HS. I guess we have always done everything together and he and my daughter are my best friends. I want to be happy but am sad and scared about when they leave and I am alone. I will always keep the lines open and hope that I won't be one of those people where their kids never call or see them.. That is my greatest fear...

Be proud of his successes. Focus on the fact they still include you, make new memories... one day you will have grandkids and you can have them in your heart as well.<br />
Hang in there they will always be your kids. Keep the lines open and it will get easier.